Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader has apologized for racist, sexist, and anti-gay comments he tweeted when he was a teenager, reports ABC News.
The tweets, made when Hader, now 24, was 17 and 18 years old, came to light after they were posted to social media during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night.
Moments after Hader gave up a three-run home run to the American League team, the tweets began circulating on Twitter, with many users denouncing the relief pitcher for his insensitivity. (Due in part to Hader’s performance, the American League defeated the National League, 8-6.)
Hader and many of his National League teammates were asked about the tweets immediately following the game.
“I was young, immature and stupid,” he said. “There’s no excuse for what was said. I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said and what’s been going on. It doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now.
“It was something that happened when I was 17 years old. As a child I was immature,” he added. “Obviously I said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect who I am as a person today. That’s just what it is.”
Among the tweets were one that said, “I hate gay people.” Another said: “Suck my cock! I’ll murder your family.”
Other tweets talked in demeaning ways about women being used for sexual gratification. Hader also joked about a stereotype that black people weren’t likely to be killed by sharks because they are afraid of water. He quoted lyrics from the Song “Durr She Go,” by rapper Juicy J, including use of the n-word. And he tweeted “KKK” in one tweet which was followed up by another tweet two months later, reading “white power.”
Hader told reporters he was ready to accept any consequences he might face as a result of the tweets.
Hader’s teammates tried to defend his character when asked about the tweets.
“He was young. We all say some crazy stuff when we’re young,” said Lorenzo Cain, who is black. “So, we’ll move on from this. He said it, it’s over, it’s done with, and we’re gonna focus on playing baseball.”
Christian Yelich said he was not “super familiar with it [the situation surrounding the tweets]” but said that Hader is “a great guy” with a “really kind heart, so hopefully it was nothing too bad.”
ABC News reports that members of Hader’s family removed or turned inside out jerseys bearing Hader’s name for fear of being targeted after the game.
Major League Baseball released a statement saying that Hader will be required to participate in sensitivity training and the league’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, but will not be suspended.
“During last night’s game we became aware of Mr. Hader’s unacceptable social media comments in years past and have since been in communication with the Brewers regarding our shared concerns,” MLB said in its statement. “After the game, Mr. Hader took the necessary step of expressing remorse for his highly offensive and hurtful language, which fails to represent the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it.”
David Stearns, the general manager of the Brewers, called Hader’s past comments “inexcusable” and not reflective of “the views of the Brewers organization or our community.” Stearns noted that Hader is taking responsibility for his actions.
“Those of us that have come to know Josh do not believe that these posts are representative of his beliefs,” Stearns said in a statement. “He has been a good teammate and contributor to the team in every way. We will continue to work through this issue with Josh as we prepare to resume games after the [mid-season] break.”